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How To Shrink A Shirt Neck In 7 Steps

December 22, 2022
How To Shrink A Shirt Neck In 7 Steps

While it’s widely accepted that shrinking clothes is possible, shrinking specific parts of clothes is much more controversial. Having said that, can you shrink a shirt neck?

You can shrink a shirt’s neck, but it must be done the right way. Fill a basin with hot water and carefully submerge just the shirt’s neck/collar in it. Then, use a high-heat blow dryer to dry it.  

However, that’s just the short answer; there’s much more to it.

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to shrink a shirt neck.

Disclaimer: Be wary that there’s always a risk of shrinking the shirt neck too much or damaging the shirt itself. In addition, there’s a risk of injury when dealing with hot water, so be extra careful. 

With that in mind, let’s dig deeper.

How To Shrink A Shirt Neck In 7 Steps

Shrinking the neck of a shirt may seem complicated, but following a stepwise routine should make things easier. 

1. Find Out What Your Shirt’s Made Of

The first step to shrinking the neck of your shirt is finding out its materials.

It’s important to find out what your shirt is made of before attempting to shrink it because different materials have different shrinking conditions.

The best shirt materials to shrink are cotton and cotton-blend – with cotton being the easiest to shrink.

Shrinking polyester and other artificial fibers can be very challenging to shrink. 

Finding out your shirt’s materials is pretty straightforward. Usually, it’s found on the label inside of the shirt.

However, if your shirt doesn’t have a label, it’s worth checking the website of the place you bought it from. Often, they have the materials listed under product information or similar.

If you have any uncertainty about what your shirt is made of, attempting to shrink it is not recommended.

This is because different materials have different shrinking conditions. So, shrinking a shirt that you don’t know the materials of can be damaging. 

2. Fill A Basin With Water

The next step to shrinking the collar of your shirt is filling a basin with the right temperature water.

When filling the basin, you should ensure that the water is hot but not steaming or boiling.

wash basin
Image From Deposit Photos

This will minimize the chances of your shirt getting damaged while still being hot enough to shrink the neck.

If your shirt is made of artificial fibers, it may be appropriate to heat the water a little more, but it should never be boiling.

Ideally, the water will be pretty close to the top – half an inch to an inch is best. 

3. Submerge The Collar

Putting the shirt’s collar in water will begin the shrinking process. It’s important to do this step while the water is still hot.

Draping the shirt over the basin so that only the collar is in the water is the most effective way of ensuring the rest of your shirt doesn’t get wet.

You can then rest something on top of the shirt to prevent it from falling, although this isn’t a necessity. 

Using kitchen tongs is recommended to submerge the shirt’s neck. This is to prevent contact between your hands and the hot water. 

You should keep it underwater for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Dry And Hang Up The Shirt

Once the shirt collar has been submerged for 10-15 minutes, you’ll need to take it out and begin to dry it.

You should use a towel to partially dry the collar, rolling it on the towel. It’s important not to dry it completely at this stage.

Next, you’ll need to hang up the shirt using a hanger to let it dry. Wooden hangers are recommended as they retain their shape much better than plastic ones.

shirt hangers
Image From Deposit Photos

Leave the shirt for as long as is required. Note that it’s best to leave it slightly damp for the efficacy of the next step.

5. Blow Dry The Shirt 

To further aid the shrinking process, using a blow dryer is recommended. 

Turn the blow dryer to a medium-high heat setting and blow-dry the damp shirt collar. You should keep the hot blow dryer at a distance of around 2 inches from the fabric.

Using higher heat settings is recommended for shirts made of polyester or other artificial fibers because these are tough to shrink.

Dry the collar fully using the blow dryer. 

6. Iron The Collar

The second last step for shrinking a shirt’s collar is ironing it.

Consider ironing the shirt with a spritz of spray starch to straighten and stiffen the collar.  You should set the iron to the heat setting recommended by the manufacturer.

This is usually found on the label; however, if you can’t find it or your shirt doesn’t have a label, it’s probably online. 

If you’re still unable to find the recommended heat setting, go for the lowest heat setting – just to be on the safe side.

The heat from the iron may help the shrinking process; however, since the shirt is already dry, it likely won’t.

Once it’s ironed, you should put it on a hanger and leave it to cool – this shouldn’t take too long.

7. Try It On

Finally, when your shirt has cooled, you should try it on.

The most important factor of a shirt’s neck is comfort. A restrictive-feeling collar feels terrible.

Therefore, the neck of your shirt should be comfortable, easy to wear, and not feel constricting.

If it still feels too large, you can simply repeat the steps for shrinking your collar. You’ll likely have to do this for artificial fibers, such as polyester, as these are generally much more difficult to shrink.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions on the topic, to really round things up.

Can You Shrink A Shirt’s Collar In The Dryer?

Shrinking a shirt’s collar in the dryer is possible. Having said this, it involves shrinking the entire garment. If you want to shrink just the collar, you should avoid putting your shirt in the dryer.

Putting your shirt in the dryer isn’t a viable way of shrinking just the collar of the shirt. 

Instead, it’s only really an option if you wish to shrink the entire shirt. Furthermore, the method of shrinking greatly depends on your shirt’s materials.

Can You Shrink A Dress Shirt’s Collar?

You can shrink the collar of a dress shirt; however, you should be extra careful when doing so. Dress shirts are often made of natural fibers that can shrink and get damaged more easily meaning that they require extra care.

You can shrink a dress shirt using the same steps in this guide. However, using lower heat than you usually would is recommended to minimize the risk of damage.


There you have it. A simple DIY method for shrinking a shirt’s collar. 

It’s important to remember that any exposure to heat can be potentially damaging to your garments. There’s also the possibility of them shrinking too much. Therefore, you should always be cautious.